No. 187

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2015


From Our New President

Dacre Watson (SH 56-62)


As many of you will have read elsewhere, at the St Beghian Society AGM in September I was elected to be the Society President for the next two years. In following on from the immediate Past President, Anthony Wills (and Don Williams before him), I am conscious that I have large shoes to fill. In particular I am grateful to Anthony and Joanna for taking the trouble to have lunch with me in order to give me a full briefing and handover; it is proving to be enormously helpful.

There will be many of you who do not know me and I include a short resume of my time since leaving St Bees in July 1962.
As many of my contemporaries at school will remember, I was quite keen on aeroplanes and after I left I was fortunate enough to be selected for a place at The College of Air Training, Hamble, which was the pilot training establishment set up by BOAC and BEA in 1960. I started there in January 1963 and graduated at the end of the following year to join BEA, initially flying the Vanguard as a co-pilot. It was in BEA that I also met Tim Savage (SH 44-49) and Ian Stanley
(G 45-48), both Old St Beghians from the 40s; later Roger Andrews (G 61-66) joined us followed by Mike Harrison
(G 56-61), who came in with the merger with BCal in 1987.

Dacre Watson (SH 56-62) - President
I spent forty years as an airline pilot, thirty one as Captain and twenty six of those years as an instructor and examiner; apart from five years with Singapore airlines, my whole career was spent with BEA and British Airways.
Dacre Watson (SH 56-62) - President

After I retired I became involved with a City Livery Company, The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, eventually running the education element, which involved working with Inner City schools raising money to provide disadvantaged children with Gliding Days and providing funds for these schools to start Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes. Bearing in mind my own privileged time at St Bees, I found it a humbling experience. I still get airborne whenever I can in a 61 year old shared Piper Tripacer, which I have had for the last twenty odd years and which keeps me in touch with my old way of life.

I am deeply aware of the long history of our school and of the many events which have taken place in this country, Europe and the world at large in which so many former pupils have played a part, however small. One hundred years ago pupils leaving St Bees were preparing to go off to fight in what was to be known as ‘The Great War’ and twenty years later this tragic scenario would be repeated, again with great loss of life amongst Old St Beghians.

I mention this because I believe that it is important that we should look back on the past as much as we should look forward to the future. Our school has had many periods of difficulty and it is no secret that the world-wide economic problems of the last few years have not been easy. We are so very fortunate in having James Davies, a young and dynamic Headmaster, whose labours are already bringing results which will ensure the future of the school.

During my term of office it is my intention to work closely with the Headmaster, his team and the Board of Governors in order to build on the success so far, and it is my earnest wish that as many of you as possible will join us in this cause.
My full intention over the coming two years is to attend as many events and dinners as possible in order to meet as many of you as I can. Thank you for electing me and I look forward to working with you all.

Dacre Watson.
Tel (01367) 252384 or

* Please also click here to see an additional letter from Dacre requesting views and ideas from members about events,
interests & involvement.



The St Beghian Society    
St Bees School,    St Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS

Tel: (01946) 828093     
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